There are two types of people in the world: those who braved the pandemic and grew out their hair, and those who shat it and went for the Phil Mitchell. It’s a weird world when you can divide the baldy population into pureblood baldy bastards and nouveau imposter baldy bastards. Kinda weird that, after enduring years of torment, all it took was one pandemic for the slapheads’ hair styling to prove the most beneficial. I was in the former brave category, choosing not to fearfully turn to Mr Braun and to instead accept a third bad long hair stint. I fought off many suggestions from ma maw that she could do a good job if I let her, or from my pureblood baldy bastard uncle, who said: “It’s not as bad as you think”. I endured the ever-growing hair, waking up looking like I’d done two tours of duty at the Milan Fashion Show, ma hair being greasier by 6pm than that of a middle-aged male politician. With my corona cut, I mirrored my 15-year-old self: long straggly hair and endless hours devoted to FIFA while drinking cans of cider. It could not go on, fuck me – waking up before Loose Women started was my only daily objective. Thus, when big Brian the barber announced he was opening the shop mid-July and you could book an appointment, Reader, I must confess a felt highly aroused.
You see, this wasn’t like the usual haircut. You didn’t walk in on the spur of the moment cause ye thought it was getting too long or yer maw said: “Your hairs getting awfully long”. Aw naw, this was an experience like no other, one that built itself up over a long period of weeks like a pay-per-view boxing fight that doesn’t end in 15 seconds. The conversations on Xbox with the troops as to when we would finally get to feel the embrace of the barber shop’s IKEA chair were now filled with enthusiasm, as we knew we’d soon upgrade from 2/10s to 4/10s. No longer would the Diamond Casino on Grand Theft Auto be robbed with subpar hairstyles, or cans of lager downed sporting a short back and shitebag: change was afoot.
As soon as appointments could be made through a phone app, I was straight on it and got myself a slot. The moment of truth would be at 9:35am on Friday 17th of July. Now, a don’t usually really take a disliking to the English – international football not included. They can be pricks, granted, and they have accents that drive you up the wall (FYI, you can describe something nice as indeed nice, not fucking ‘peng’), but mostly they just annoy themselves. But this was different: the amount of gloating wee shites showing off their hairstyles down south on Twitter really annoyed me. Ye wait four fucking months to eventually get a slick back? Behave ya fuckin pellet. The pain of having to see these war crime level haircuts and then having to wait over a week to get a proper one only made the moment even more sensual for me. The faithful moment had been 121 days in the making and, at the last hurdle, an extra element of enjoyable horniness had been flung into the mixer.
Reader, I must admit that I felt some nerves; I was feeling the pressure, I even had to burst out my gym playlist to give myself a boost. But for a moment like this, a moment that meant more to me than ever before, I needed a pep talk from someone who had been through this gauntlet and came out gleaming. I thus turned to a reputable source: ma dug Sandy the Fox Red Labrador. Sandy had received a light trim, shampooing and deshedding number across the road at the kennels. He is a braw dug at the best of times, but this gave him the confidence to pish not only on one neighbour’s plants but to serenade the entire streets’ floral collection with his bladder. I asked him about the experience, the feeling and if it outdid any previous experience under the clippers. His answer of a long stare compiled with muted reply awakened me to the reality of all this: it was such a momentous moment that one simply couldn’t put into words; no even a dug.
The day of reckoning came. An occasion for the moccasins.
I bounced out of bed with newfound enthusiasm, excited like Pavarotti in a cake shop. I had my last shower looking like a Tesco value Mowgli and I set off towards the Holy Land, on ma crusade to not look like peak Noel Edmonds.
On a standard day, I am depressed beyond reason whenever I see Kilmarnock town centre: A great “aw for fuck sake” takes over my thoughts and I wouldn’t sympathise if the place fell victim to a nuke. That day was different in the extreme, the town seeming brighter and the buildings less shitey. After a quick stop to the bank machine (contactless is coming to Ayrshire in 2022), I was face-to-face with ma destiny. I fired on ma mask and mentally prepared myself, honestly sweating like a fat pigeon outside Greggs.
I walked into the shop and was greeted by all the familiar faces. Sitting down and having the new clear plastic gown thing put on me felt like seeing family again. No longer did one have to use the communal gown, now a personal plastic one was used, and the see-through element only added to the mystique of this new paradise. Then, the hallowed words were spoken: “Alright Josh, usual I take it?”. Now, that is the mark of a world-class barber right there, a man who can instantly remember the style of hundreds of clients after 4 months. This class was further reaffirmed with his approval about my refusal to fall into the dark pit of baldness. The clippers then pressed against my head to begin the transition, the heat from them warming both ma dome and ma heart. As more and more of the mop was cast away, I had to increasingly fight back tears: it was utterly beautiful, and the usual small talk was replaced by outpours of sentiment. Then it was over, the months of waiting seeming nothing when the barber asked me: “that okay for you?”. I now know what it must be like as a da to see a wain for the first time, to see new life before you and be filled with sheer joy. The increase in price felt deserved to me – how could I really grudge an extra fiver on top of the standard rate when Brian had transformed me into a new being? As I left the sacred grounds, I got a glimpse of myself in the mirror and, like every single person (imposter baldys not included) who had received their first trim since lockdown, I thought to myself: “you are one handsome big bastard aren’t ye?”.
As I departed after the customary “Hiya pal!” to all the other employees, the Snapchats were well and truly sent. One bombed straight to the group chat, one to the Mrs and one right to ma maw (her sole purpose for having Snapchat is to put filters on the dug and send it to me). The confidence that ran through me was erotic, holy fuck I AM FEELING CONFIDENT at this point, Reader! I understood what made the others always manage to showpiece their trim at any opportunity. Went for a coffee after my haircut? Boom, there’s one smooth-looking prick in the photo with Mr Costa’s finest (other brands are available don’t worry). Ma wee sister asks me to pick up fake tan for her on the way home? Lord and behold, there’s a sexy bastard in the photo of the St Tropez bottle. Oh yes, I felt like a new man. See that bit in Spiderman 3 when the Alpha Spiderman Toby Maguire is stomping down the street confident as fuck? Aye, that was me strutting my stuff back to my car. Honestly, even those smoking outside the job centre gave me many nods of approval (lol am talking shite here they asked me for a cigarette).
After my haircut had been reviewed by the relative authorities, the verdicts started coming in. I get a “looks great!” from ma maw, which is a solid start, given Jan is using the exclamation mark to signal approval. Next up comes the other half: now, if I here scored so badly or wasn’t up to scratch the group chat verdict from ma pals wouldn’t matter, because this was the league title. To my relief, she agreed with my previous statement that I was a “handsome bastard”. I marched back to the car with a spring in my step, got the 80s playlist on and made my way back home. An old dear in a Dacia gave me a nod of approval as she heard me singing ABBA’s ‘Gimmie! Gimmie!’, which set the tone that this would be a smashing drive home. I waved at every single driver on the way home, even if I had not seen them before in my life. Shades were on even though it was not sunny at all and I did not even give a singular fuck. A felt pure class.
The afternoon walk with the dug was sublime: it was as if he could feel my newfound power and matched it. I strutted with confidence, he pished with confidence and whenever I told him to drop something he did so immediately, as if to say: “why did I even pick that up, you are right to tell me to drop that, you handsome cunt”.
That night, I went to bed feeling as confident as ever, washed ma face and stared for a good minute at how good it was to have a fresh haircut. I assume this is what big Jesus must’ve felt when he bounced oot that cave, refreshed and feeling he had a new lease of life. In that night’s Facetime to my lovely significant other (legally obliged to say this), I could see that she looked upon me with new fondness. Aye, that’s exactly what it was, a look of “Holy fuck, he’s no as bad as I thought he would be after lockdown”.
So, next time someone is absolutely buzzing about a haircut and you think about being a torn-faced bastard thinking “Ach it’s no that good”, away and take a fuck to yourself and remember many a person was deprived of this basic human right because of the pandemic. Also, appreciate every haircut as it might be the last time you get one for 4 months.
And before a go, wear a fucking mask. For fuck sake a wee bit of fabric over yer snout won’t suffocate you (this has been medically approved, google it).
[Josh Hay – he/him]
[Illustration Credit: United Nations COVID-19 Response – @samrodriguezart]